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Case Study #2: Why revenue-driven strategies win in SEO

SEO is the highest ROI marketing activity a digital-first business can engage in.

Whether you’re in the early stages, still trying to find that product-market fit, or on your way to 8- and 9-figure revenues — SEO is a foundational piece of the success equation.

In this short case study, I want to highlight a few of the principles that have helped me take my personal site from $0 to $2,000/mo in under 6 months of publishing.

Here’s how I accomplished that.


#1 Organize for topical authority

Think of topical authority as typecasting in film. Once an actor or actress is seen a certain way, it’s easier for them to land similar roles. While this can be detrimental for a person who wants an illustrious career — this is exactly how we want search engines to think about our site.

Developing topical authority allows us to rank higher for niche queries almost on autopilot. But to get there, a few things must be in place. The first of which is organization. 

On I chose to structure my content strategy around three verticals:

  • Writing Tools
  • Writing Tips
  • Writing Jobs

Each one of those categories is a high-volume keyword, and over time, my content will appear in these general “short-tail” search results. 

If we drill down one level deeper, each category acts as a filter for the type of content we can publish. Writing tools focuses on product reviews (books, software, office supplies); writing tips covers best practices (grammar, habits, advice); writing jobs dives into the career and business aspects (freelance strategies, career paths, salary information).

There is no mistaking what my site is about (writing) and who my site is for (writers). Every good content strategy should aim to be this clear.


#2 Attach your content to a business plan

While the $2k/mo number mentioned at the beginning of this case study might sound small, it illustrates a key point many people miss:

For content to achieve its full potential, it must be attached to a viable business plan.

I never publish just for the sake of it. Every article has a purpose, a way it fits into the larger, achievable plan. Furthermore, that plan isn’t blindly reaching for a traffic number. Traffic is the gateway to what a business needs to thrive: users and revenue. has three primary revenue streams:

  • Affiliate sales
  • Ads / Sponsors
  • Paid consulting

You may already notice how these streams align with the organization mentioned above:

  • Writing Tools — affiliate sales from product reviews
  • Writing Jobs — ad and sponsor income from high-traffic searches
  • Writing Tips — establish expertise, so readers pay for consulting

Every vertical supports a clear part of the revenue structure. This is how you build a content strategy that pays the bills. 


#3 Create a wedge to accelerate results

Once you have the organization and revenue elements nailed down, the next part is figuring out where to start.

My approach to this challenge is best summarized by the following quote from ConvertKit’s founder Nathan Barry.

[A niche] is like having a wedge that you're trying to drive in. I grew up in the mountains and we split lots of firewood. Imagine trying to split wood with a sharp axe versus a mallet. The mallet is like trying to hit everyone all at once with all of the different things you can do. The axe or wedge is when you narrow in and say I'm only here for this. — Nathan Barry

Cultivating a wedge is how you cut through the noise and begin gaining ground in your industry. What that looks like in practice depends on where your unfair advantages lie.

For, my most recent advantage was understanding the nuances of the Ghost platform, and its potential for blogging. Most of the conversations around Ghost focused on its capacity for newsletters. Blogging experts almost exclusively recommend WordPress. This presented a clear gap in the market that could be captured by a targeted keyword strategy (e.g., WordPress alternatives, best CMS for SEO, etc.).

For those with tight timelines or budgets, a smart wedge is non-negotiable.


Over 61,000 people visited my site in 2022, thanks to a content strategy that was organized, revenue-driven, and tactically positioned. Now, let me do the same for you!